The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
scissorhands7
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points

Taxpayers should be allowed to dictate how governments spend their money.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/26/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,808 times Debate No: 5537
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (6)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

Let's say that the Poles, the Danes and the Serbs decide to form a federation and they call their new country, I don't know, The Poledanser Republic.

Now, in the spirit of true democracy, the government of this newly formed nation allow all tax-paying Poledansers to decide how their money is spent.

Naturally, the cost of running the legislature and judiciary would be protected, but beyond that, the taxpayers are invited to earmark their income tax.

Here's a worked example:

* Annual income – 100,000 Poledanser dollars.
* Income tax rate – 10%
* Income tax payable – 10,000 Poledanser dollars.
* Percentage of income tax due to cover Government Running Costs (GRC) – 4%
* Income tax less GRC – 9,600 Poledanser dollars
* Number of Government Ministries – 12: Health; Defence; Arts and Culture; Law Enforcement; Social Security; Foreign Aid; Transport; Environment; Education; Agriculture; Research and Development; Energy.
* Amount of income tax per Ministry – 800 Poledanser dollars, when divided equitably.

However, not all taxpayers would want the same amount to go to each Ministry.

For instance, an environmentally-aware, culturally-enlightened social worker and voluntary peace activist with five disabled children (that were adopted from Africa) and who has an unemployed partner (with profound mental health issues) and who earns 100,000 Poledanser dollars per annum, might decide to give 1,600 Poledanser dollars each to the Education, Social Security, Health, Environment, Art and Culture and Foreign Aid Ministries and nothing at all to the others.

On the other hand, a racist farmer on the same income who hates foreigners so much he wants to see them all dead, who isn't married and has no kids and who is paranoid about becoming the victim of crime, might decide to give the Defence, Agriculture and Law Enforcement Ministries 3,200 Poledanser dollars each and nothing at all to the others.

In practice, of course, most Poledanser taxpayers would realise that all the Ministries have important roles to play, but some require more funding than others and would allocate each one different amounts accordingly.

This, I believe, is an eminently fairer system of controlling government spending than the current norm because it devolves the decision-making process down to the people.
scissorhands7

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for his interesting debate subject.

I would like to first start out by summarizing my opponents points

My opponent advocates a governmental system where taxpayers could choose where their money goes. Specifically this would be limited to 12 ministries which my opponent has designated:

Health; Defence; Arts and Culture; Law Enforcement; Social Security; Foreign Aid; Transport; Environment; Education; Agriculture; Research and Development; Energy.

While in theory this idea sounds incredibly intelligent, in actuality it is in short a terrible idea.

Below I will give my refutations and supporting arguments

1. While my opponents categories are perhaps broad enough to include every business related prospect, my opponent by designating categories such as the arts, law enforcement, transportation, health, environment, agriculture, and energy, has in turn contradicted his earlier point that the people should control how the money is spent. In actuality my opponent is giving the current government infinitely more powers than it has had under the current system (which I'm assuming is a parliamentary democracy).

By giving ministries to these categories my opponent is advocating that the government will choose where the taxpayers money goes within these broadly defined ministries.

For example let us assume that the government collects 10% of the taxpayers money to art. Who then decides where this 10% of taxpayer money goes?

The government does.

Under the current system who dictates where money should go in the art realm?

The consumer does.

As my opponent has stated he believes that a fairer governmental system devolves

"the decision making process down to the people."

However his proposed governmental system does exactly the opposite under the guise of doing so.

Let me give an example of why this system is not only fair, but will result in chaos:

Bob is retired and receives social security payments, so consequentially he does not pay taxes. Joe is a working man and does not currently receive the benefits of social security, since he works Joe pays taxes. Under my opponents system Joe decides to give none of his taxpayer money to social security because he does not see the benefit of it. Concurrently Bob will receive less in his social security check.

Apply this example to all people under my opponents system, and we have chaos.

My opponent could conclude that in the future Joe himself will be receiving lower social security payments seeing as how the current government has already saved Bob's generations taxpayer dollars and divided them equally.

However we must consider two points:

1. Joe could simply put his taxpayer money elsewhere (in law enforcement since he's a police officer) and get paid a higher salary. Joe can then use that higher pay to save for retirement and still enjoy the full benefits of social security.
2. A person paying higher taxes and devoting his taxes to social security will see the same benefit as Joe who pays much less in taxes but does not pay anything to social security.

So in this sense I ask my opponent how this policy allows the people to choose?

Next let us review spending money for Defense. This country is currently in a war. Most of the country opposes the war. The people give no tax money to the defense ministry because they do not support the war.

As a result the soldiers disband (because they are not being paid enough to risk their lives) Much of the defense staff at home disbands because they equally aren't being paid enough. Meanwhile this countries neighboring countries decide to invade.

I could provide numerous other examples at the chaotic effects this governmental type would have and how it is in fact much less fair than the current system, but I have run out of space.

I would like to thank my opponent for this debate and look forward to his rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

brian_eggleston forfeited this round.
scissorhands7

Con

Arguments extended
Debate Round No. 2
brian_eggleston

Pro

First of all, I would like to thank my opponent for taking up this debate and also offer him my sincere apologies for forfeiting the second round. This was due to my attending a Chinese wedding which lasted, as they do, most of the weekend, thus leaving me no opportunity to post an argument, or at least not a sober one! Anyway, I hope my opponent understands and doesn't consider my forfeit in any way disrespectful.

In his response, my opponent observed that the government would still distribute tax receipts so that this will limit the taxpayers control over how the money is actually spent.

This is true, and also a good thing. While year on year, the taxpayers' can collectively adjust the amount of money any given Ministry receives, the political decision on exactly how it is spent will be made by elected representatives of the people.

My opponent used the hypothetical Ministry of Culture and Art as an example. The taxpayers decide how much money the ministry will have to spend but the voters (who are not all taxpayers) will elect a government that spends it the way they want.

For example, The Conservative Party's manifesto might state that the arts budget should be spent subsidising all the lap-dancing clubs that lost their best customers when the balloon went up in the finance industry, while the Socialist Workers Party might promise to fund ethically-sound, environmentally-friendly drama workshops for gay and lesbian members of ethnic minorities who have AIDS.

You see, in my system, the voters decide how the money is spent, which is democratic, and the taxpayers decide how much, which is fair.

Now let us turn our attention to Bob and Joe and their rather selfish attitude to allocating their taxes. Since Bob and Joe are not the only two taxpayers in the country, their respective choice of beneficiaries of the taxes will be only be two contributions amongst millions of others. Joe's individual decision to allocate more money to Law Enforcement will not, on it's own, be enough to fund a pay rise for all police officers. If there is extra money in the pot to pay for higher salaries, it would be as the result of the collective decision of all taxpayers.

We now move on to Defence and the example given of America's military involvement in Iraq. My opponent states that most people disapprove of this conflict and this may be true. However, it doesn't then follow that they won't allocate money to Defence. Most taxpayers realise that America's security is of vital importance. Rather they will vote for a political party that promises to spend their taxes on higher salaries for military personnel rather than on expensive foreign campaigns.

In conclusion, this system is democracy, but with value added. Everybody gets one vote each, rich or poor – to deny the unemployed or the retired their vote because they don't pay tax would be totally un-democratic. However, the people that fund the country through their taxes will have the opportunity to dictate the government's fiscal priorities on a year-to-year basis, which is right and just.
scissorhands7

Con

Absolutely no problem Brian!

Now to start off,
"opponent observed that the government would still distribute tax receipts so that >>>>> this will limit the taxpayers control, This is true, and also a good thing. <<<<<"

My opponent has conceded his resolution. By default all voters will vote CON.

Reasons:
1. Although my opponent never stated a clear resolution anywhere in his R1, you can see that the point he is trying to make is that "taxpayers should be allowed to dictate how governments spend their money (topic of debate)"

2. However under my opponents proposal he has clearly shown that governments will actually be controlling more of taxpayers dollars than they had previously when consumers (also taxpayers) controlled their money.

3. As I have clearly shown in my first argument (R2), which has gone unrefuted and conceded by my opponent, the government under my opponents system will control more of the taxpayers dollars and the taxpayers will receive less control than they had previously.

Now moving onto the next point my opponent has made regarding my example of the arts:

"the voters (who are not all taxpayers) will elect a government that spends it the way they want"

Previously the consumer directly dictated where the money was spent. This argument proposed by my opponent contradicts his resolution. In the previous system the consumer (people) dictated where the money was spent. However now the government directly dictates where the money is spent. Yes the voters (people) do have some say. However as is proved throughout democratic history, not every voter agrees with all the spending decisions a government makes regardless if they vote for them. Additionally what about the people who vote against the government and lose? In this case their decision on how the government spend taxpayer dollars is not taken into consideration at all.

Point: >>>>>before all people (consumers) directly chose (specifically) where and how much of their money is spent.
Under my opponents system taxpayers (not all people) choose how much money is spent and majority voters (not all people) elect a government (small contingent of people) to determine specifically where the money is spent.<<<<<

Negation:
>>>Under this system the people have less control of where money is spent<<<

My next opponents point: "will be only be two contributions amongst millions of others."

However when one person find how to cheat the system millions will follow. It is proven, through economics, that people care more towards themselves than others. (hearsay)

"However, it doesn't then follow that they won't allocate money to Defence. Most taxpayers realise that America's security is of vital importance."

My opponent is making a deadly assumption that taxpayers are educated. I would like to remind him that 25% of the population has a "below average" intelligence quota

Seventy percent of students nationwide earned diplomas in four years as of 2003, the latest data available nationally, a much lower rate than that reported by the vast majority of school systems.

That means on average 3/10ths of the population doesn't even have a high school education. Additionally 1/3 of the population "has never" watched the news.
http://www.journalism.org...
http://www.washingtonpost.com...

Additionally only 40% of the population voted in 2004.

To sum up,
1. My opponent conceded his implied resolution (never stated)- therefore you default vote CON
2. I have shown how under my opponents system government actually controls the money more - my opponent conceded
3. Have shown examples of negative examples illustrating my point that less government control (as in the case of defense) would be disastrous and unfair when thought out.

I would like to thank my opponent for this excellent debate and would like to send him my regards.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by scissorhands7 8 years ago
scissorhands7
1. National Endowment for the arts = .005384% of our budget
2. 20% of PBS's budget is from tax payer dollars
3. Admission prices, donations, advertising, etc.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"
Under the current system who dictates where money should go in the art realm?

The consumer does."

National Endowment for the Arts? PBS? Thousands of little public art museums?
Posted by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
Conduct: Con
- Pro forfeited R2

Spelling/Grammar: Tie
- I hold both debaters in the highest esteem as to their command of the English Language.

Convincing Arguments: Con
- Pro brought up a very interesting idea, but he did not develop it enough. Con showed how Pro's plan as he explained it would actually bring more government control, not less. Pro did not respond to this crucial point.

Sources: Con
- Pro did not cite any sources, Con did.
Posted by scissorhands7 8 years ago
scissorhands7
haha ok, however according to some members on this site, you and I are the same person, although we have yet until now to directly talk to each other.
Posted by Sweatingjojo 8 years ago
Sweatingjojo
scissorhands7, send me a PM on here sometime soon, I need to ask you something.
Posted by Lightkeeper 8 years ago
Lightkeeper
burningpuppy, what are you saying?
I won't be as arrogant as to say I'd beat Brian in this debate. But I do say I would have a very good running chance. The problem is I can't accept it because I'm in a debate with him already :(

oh and I don't say this because I'm originally from Poland and have better local knowledge :P
Posted by Lightkeeper 8 years ago
Lightkeeper
Just on the topic of Poles.
Why is it that people from Poland are called Poles but those from Holland aren't called Holes? :o
Posted by burningpuppies101 8 years ago
burningpuppies101
i don't see how the con can win this... it seems to me like a easy win on the pro
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
"The Poledanser Republic."

Obvious brian style :D
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
PoeJoe
But people are stupid. It sounds nice, but it would never work in practice. Oh wait, resolution says "should", nevermind.
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Vote Placed by JBlake 8 years ago
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